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Austin Colby, MaryJoanna Grisso and More to Join American Pops Orchestra for CINDERELLA

Maestro Luke Frazier and The American Pops Orchestra - Washington, DC's innovative hometown orchestra - will continue their all-star 2016-2017 season with a new take on the classic tale Cinderella: A Magical, Musical Tale on Saturday, March 11 at 2:00 PM at Live! at 10th and G (First Congregational UCC, 945 G Street NW, WDC 20001).

This all-ages show is a touching and comedic retelling of the fairy tale classic. One part storybook and four parts Great American Songbook, Cinderella features colorful costumes, playful props, and includes plenty of audience participation.

Tickets to the show are on sale now at

Cinderella: A Magical, Musical Tale will feature Austin Colby (The Sound of Music national tour, directed by Jack O'Brien; Signature Theater; Arena Stage), MaryJoanna Grisso (Signature Theatre in West Side Story), Hilary Morrow (APO's She Did it Her Way), and Dale Sampson (Suessical National Tour). The show is written by Taylor Ferrera and Matthew Webster, and directed by Nathan Brewer. Production design is by Tyler Gunther.

"It is important to me that the American Pops Orchestra can appeal to a whole spectrum of interests," says Frazier. "By taking some timeless songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin to Cinderella and refashioning them for family audiences, this beloved story you thought you knew already is given a new perspective. We're so excited to introduce this show, and its talented young cast, to D.C. audiences."

The APO's 2016-2017 season will conclude with You Spin Me 'Round: An 80s Dance Party (April 7). Tickets to all shows are on sale now at

The orchestra will continue their free monthly lunchtime concert series "Third Thursdays" - hosted by and featuring Luke Frazier - on Thursday, February 16 at 12:15 PM. These events highlight members of the acclaimed ensemble at Live! at 10th and G (First Congregational UCC, 945 G Street NW, WDC 20001), while also supporting the DC Youth Orchestra Program, where Frazier is an Artist-in-Residence.

In addition to the regular concerts of the season, Frazier and the American Pops Orchestra recently performed at the Hispanic Heritage Awards in September 2016, which was nationally broadcast on PBS. Also this season, they appeared at the Beacon Prize, given by Human Rights First to honor commitment to the American ideals of freedom and human dignity, in December 2016; and the DC Standing Ovation Awards, celebrating excellence in the DC Public Schools, in February 2017.

THE AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA founded by Luke Frazier presents innovative orchestral programming, featuring groundbreaking concepts to develop and inspire a new audience for the 21st century. This professional orchestra boasts outstanding musicians from New York and Washington DC. The American Pops presented six original orchestral programs in its opening 2015-2016 season, featuring leading Broadway singers, dancers, and actors. The orchestra's October 2015 performance of "Stairway to Paradise: A Gershwin Spectacular" - featuring two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole - was hailed by DC Metro Theater Arts for "inspired arrangements of beloved Gershwin songs that reinvigorate the material and highlight the skill of his musicians." Another season highlight was "A Broadway Christmas" featuring Elaine Paige, the first Lady of the British Musical Stage. Other high-profile performances in the last year include a special event at The Kennedy Center hosted by Tommy Tune, the Hispanic Heritage Awards with Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Arturo Sandoval, the DC Standing Ovation Awards, theatreWashington's Helen Hayes Awards, and The Giving Pledge at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History. The APO made its New York debut in December 2015 at the all-star Edith Piaf Centennial Celebration at The Town Hall and was praised for its "sumptuous lilt" by The New York Times.

Luke Frazier has quickly established himself as a dynamic force across the music community. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch put it best, calling Frazier "so talented, and sensitive to every nuance." Committed to re-envisioning pops programming, he has proven himself among musical heavyweights as both an accomplished conductor and a sensitive pianist. Frazier has worked with artists Renée Fleming, Kevin Spacey, Denyce Graves, Darren Criss, Lea Salonga, Laura Osnes, Eric Owens, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno, Christine Ebersole, and Michael Feinstein, among others.

He has the distinction of conducting in all three of the largest venues at the Kennedy Center. In addition to the APO, Mr. Frazier founded the National Broadway Chorus in Washington DC, which has toured through Indianapolis and Chicago, and was featured at the Great American Songbook Foundation Gala, where Mr. Frazier serves on the Board. Mr. Frazier also enjoys an active schedule as a guest conductor. He has recently appeared with the West Virginia Symphony, the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

In demand as a clinician, adjudicator, and speaker, Luke recently addressed the National Symphony Orchestra's "Summer Music Institute" students. He appeared as the Keynote Speaker for the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) Award for Excellence in the Arts at the Kennedy Center and also addressed the VSA, an international organization for the arts and disability. Luke returned to his alma mater, Ohio University, for a third year of master classes with Broadway talent as part of "Broadway at Ohio" in September 2016. He will also present an original program honoring the 100th anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald's birth with the DC Youth Orchestra in Spring 2017. Twitter: @LSFConductor -

Austin Colby is currently playing Rolf in the national tour of The Sound of Music, directed by Jack O'Brien. He is happy to be back in D.C. where he was last seen at Signature Theatre in West Side Story (opposite MaryJoanna Grisso). Other credits include Arena Stage: Smokey Joe's Café; Signature Theatre: Crossing and Simply Sondheim; Olney Theater Center: Forever Plaid, Spring Awakening, Cinderella. Colby is a graduate of James Madison University with a Bachelor of Music and Theater minor.

MaryJoanna Grisso is thrilled to join The American Pops Orchestra for this exciting production. She happily returns to the DC area after having recently performed in Signature Theatre's West Side Story where she was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for the role of Maria, which she has played almost 600 times. Other credits include: Les Miserables (Cosette), Propaganda! The Musical (Fired Girl), Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown), Urinetown (Hope), The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, The Marriage of Figaro (Barbarina). Concerts: Mozart's Requiem at Carnegie Hall, Broadway Rocks with Marvin Hamlisch, Heinz Hall.

HILARY MORROW is thrilled to make her return appearance with the American Pops in Cinderella: A Magical Musical Tale after her APO debut as a featured soloist in She Did it Her Way last season. She recently performed at the famed jazz club Birdland in New York City and at the Human Rights First Beacon Prize Awards. Last winter, she toured a musical theatre master class series for underserved schoolchildren in Maine with Maestro Luke Frazier. Previous credits include: Brünnhilde in Hugo Ball: a Dada puppet AdveNTurE!!/?1!!//, Snowella Mistletoe in A Very Pointless Holiday Spectacular, Charlotte Stackhouse in Let Trump Be Trump and Isabella Andreini in a one-woman show entitled, Oh, What Can't A Woman Do? She received her BA in musical theatre from American University and is a member of the National Broadway Chorus.

Dale Sampson is a National Champion in Humorous/Dramatic public speaking. National Tours: Suessical (Cat In the Hat), Junie B. Jones (Herb), New York City: Rent (Mark), Evita (Che), Propoganda! The Musical (Rookie, lead) at NYMF as well as the first workshop at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Kingdom Come (Freddy/Michael) winner: Best Musical at DUTF, Best Imitation (Landon) at FestivALL, Emerging Artists Theatre, and Midtown International Theatre Festival. Regional: The Last Five Years (Jamie), Footloose (Ren), Honk! (Ugly), Romeo and Juliet (Romeo). Dale is a member of the a cappella group the Perfect Fifths. He is also the creator and star of the new musical Sam's Room, which recently won New York Theatre Barn's IMPACT Award.

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